4 Important Milestones In Creating A Great Product


Whilst I started as a developer I’ve never considered myself to be the traditional software developer. I’m not a tech head by any means and I don’t keep up to speed with the “latest and greatest”. By that I mean my focus has only been on the commercial outcome of a software product and sometimes that can upset those who want, what they consider, the perfect outcome.

A perfect example at carsales.com was the creation of the LiveMarket product and here are some important milestones in it’s creation:

Milestone 1. A product scope was developed with a lot depth and hundreds of features before development kicked off in earnest on what was thought to be a 7-9 month project.

Milestone 2. A little over 2 months into the development cycle the product was about 30% of the initial defined scope when it was put in front of the first car dealer who immediately saw the value and signed on the spot; not for a free trial, not even for a special discount price for being the first customer. The product had enough value even at 30% completion that it could command a premium price.

Milestone 3. Three months later, with now dozens of dealers signed up and still well short of the expected development time and feature set, the owner of a large franchised dealership sent the following message to the carsales CEO – “I have to let you know that livemarket.com.au is the smartest use of technology/information and market that I’ve ever seen (and I have been filling in as Used Car Mgr for two months). Brilliant. Well Done. Congrats.“. Now imagine if it was 100% finished!

Milestone 4. Fast forward some 6 plus years on and LiveMarket is a key component for hundreds and hundreds of Australian dealers buying and selling used cars yet the product scope for LiveMarket has still not been anywhere near 100% developed; not the original scope nor the expected scope creep and new ideas that inevitably come through. It never will be finished, can’t be.

So if the commercial owners had waited until 100% of the product scope was finished before releasing it to the market, theoretically it would still be in development and not an important part of the carsales’ dealer business.

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